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End Oppression Now! Support a Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity in Burma!

By Initiatives for International Dialogue and Free Burma Coalition - Philippines  •  August 8, 2011

More than 50 people representing the Free Burma Coalition – Philippines held a demonstration in front of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) at Roxas Blvd in Manila calling on the Philippine government to support the international call for the creation of a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity in Burma.  The demonstrators held a program to commemorate the 23rd year anniversary of the violent crackdown on Burma’s national people’s uprising outside of the DFA building while a short ceremony was happening inside to celebrate the 44th year since the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“Now on its 44th year, ASEAN must reflect on its seriousness to bring about genuine democratic reforms and uphold the basic rights and freedoms of the people of Burma.  ASEAN should support the creation of a UN Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to fulfill its human rights obligations to all its people as enshrined in the ASEAN charter,” a speaker from the Free Burma Coalition – Philippines said during the program.

In Davao City, about 30 people representing different organizations (Free Burma Coalition, Akbayan, Alliance of Progressive Labor, Partido ng Manggagawa, Freedom from Debt Coalition – Southern Mindanao) held a similar solidarity demonstration in front of the DFA regional consular offices in Davao City. On both demonstrations,  the protesters carried  placards calling to end various forms of human rights violations and crimes being committed by the military against the people of Burma.  The protesters carried barbed wire as an imagery of oppression and coercion and in it they tied yellow ribbons with calls for human rights and justice were written.

“Our EDSA People Power revolution of 1986 culminated into the restoration of our democracy, human rights and freedoms.  The national people’s uprising of 1988 would have ushered genuine democracy and freedoms for the people of Burma but was violently crushed by the military dictatorship.  It is our obligation, as Filipinos, to stand by our Burmese brothers and sisters and support them in their quest for genuine democracy, freedom and justice,” a protest leader said in the opening of the program.

At the end of the demonstration, the protesters presented to the DFA officials a letter from the Free Burma Coalition to the President of the Republic urging him to support the call for the creation of the CoI and lead the ASEAN into supporting it.

Both demonstrations dispersed peacefully after the activities.

Organizations present in Manila: Free Burma Coalition – Philippines (FBC-P), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), APL-Youth, Amnesty International – Pilipinas, Bagong Kamalayan Collective, Inc, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Kongreso ng mga Maralitang Lungsod (KPML), Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP), Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), Partido ng Manggagawa (PM)

Organizations represented in Davao City:  Free Burma Coalition – Philippines (FBC-P), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), APL-Youth, Akbayan Partylist, Freedom From Debt Coalition – Southern Mindanao, Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), Partido ng Manggagawa Davao (PM)

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